Three quick ways to (1) Prepare, (2) Present, and (3) Polish your informed consent form.

PREPARE:

  • Follow the American Psychological Association (APA) guide for formatting.
  • Leave white space between paragraphs.
  • Keep the sentences as short and simple as possible.
  • Use bullet points, or numbered lists to break up long lists of text.
  • Bold paragraph headers to make the consent form easier to read and understand.

PRESENT:

  • Include the institution’s name, address, and phone number as the document header.
  • Write in the second person using “you/your” pronouns.

POLISH:

  • Introduce the study to participants using common, ordinary language instead of technical, academic terms. A good rule of thumb is writing consent forms for an 8th grade reading level.
  • Avoid jargon and do not use unnecessary complicated phrasing.
  • Spellcheck the entire document.
  • Ask someone else to read the consent form or at least read it out loud word-for-word.

Make a good first impression with your consent form!